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Wreckage from the I-5 pileup has been cleared; now it’s time to write tickets

Here is what caused that backup on I-5 on Jan. 8

Northbound Interstate 5 through Bellingham was blocked for more than two hours Monday morning, Jan. 8 after a 11-vehicle pileup.
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Northbound Interstate 5 through Bellingham was blocked for more than two hours Monday morning, Jan. 8 after a 11-vehicle pileup.

Washington State Patrol troopers are still piecing together what caused an 11-car pileup just before dawn Monday on northbound Interstate 5.

No citations have been issued in connection with the wreck, which injured two people and caused more than $700 in damage to each of the 11 vehicles, according to the state patrol’s report on the incident.

“Typically, with any crash like this, somebody or multiple people are involved,” said Trooper Travis Shearer.

It might take several days for investigators to sort through driver and witness statements before assigning blame and issuing citations, he said.

Monday’s crash occurred just before 8 a.m. on northbound I-5 just south of the Iowa Street crossing. All lanes of the freeway were blocked for more than two hours, backing traffic to the Old Fairhaven Parkway crossing and snarling the morning commute for many.

Assistant Chief Bill Hewett of the Bellingham Fire Department said firefighters took two people by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening.

Tiffany N. Barrios of Bellingham, 33, was treated and released from the hospital, a nursing supervisor said. Barrios was driving a white 1995 Ford Econoline motor home that was damaged but could be driven from the scene, according to the state patrol report.

No information was available on the condition of a 9-year-old girl who was a passenger in a silver 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by 28-year-old Ciara B. Villaluz of Bellingham.

Three vehicles were towed from the crash scene, including a 2017 Honda Pilot that was totalled and impounded. Its driver was 46-year-old Forest Jacobson of Tacoma.

Two other owners arranged for private tow trucks.

Eight cars were damaged but drivable, the report said.

One driver, Jorge A. Araiza-Estrada, 30, of Lynnwood, wasn’t wearing his seat belt.

The age of the child reported injured in the pileup was corrected Jan. 10.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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